Ultra-high-end or reference-grade speakers are all well and good, but many consumers, like myself, often have to search for the giant killer or gem among a mid-fi product line due to cost constraints. For years, that giant killer lurking in the shadows within the Revel line was the delectable F30 loudspeaker, arguably one of the best affordable full-range loudspeakers ever produced. Well the F30's time in the spotlight has come and gone. It has been replaced by the new Performa F52, which hopes to build on the F30's stellar reputation with a sleek new footprint and design.
• Read more about Revel speakers at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Read a Revel Ulitima Studio2 Review from Andrew Robinson.
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Retailing for just under $7,000 a pair, the F52 is far more, ahem, lighter on its feet than the F30 and features a rather streamlined and somewhat tapered cabinet that comes in two finishes, black ash and cherry. However, unlike the F30 and more like a VW Beetle, the F52 has a smooth black finished back side that, when viewed with the F52's grille on, makes the speaker somewhat awkwardly symmetrical-looking. The F52 is not an ugly speaker, not by a long shot, but there are a few design cues that make it "unique." An easy way to tell the F52's front from back is the rear-mounted bass port that sits almost dead center in the speaker, accompanied by (as near as I can tell) the F30's binding posts and attenuation controls.
The F52 is a three-way, full-range loudspeaker featuring a total of five drivers, three six-and-a-half-inch woofers mated to a five-and-a-quarter-inch midrange driver capped off by a one inch aluminum dome tweeter. The F52's woofers and midrange drivers are all made from Revel's proprietary Organic Ceramic Composite material, which makes the drivers very rigid and lightweight, resulting in lightning-fast speed and articulation for bass and midrange drivers. Because the F52 has three smaller bass drivers, it's able to keep its footprint far more compact than the F30 with its larger single bass driver. The F52 has a reported frequency response of 31Hz to 18kHz and a sensitivity rating of 87.5dB into a six-and-a-half-ohm load. That's random. This means the F52 is far from the most efficient or easy to drive loudspeaker, so be sure to bring a bit of muscle to the party to make the spry tower sing.
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